Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The world according to Fritjof Capra : Science and Sprituality: Physicist

The world according to Fritjof Capra  


Future perfect‘I can give a scientific basis to bolster certain values like ecological sustainability and human dignity.’Basso CannarsaBasso Cannarsa .

link: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/the-world-according-to-fritjof-capra/article20554459.ece


 The physicist-philosopher talks about his journey towards balancing science and spirituality

A 78-year-old physicist who is now Director of the Centre for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, Fritjof Capra is best known for his first book, The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism (1975), which has sold over a million copies worldwide. He had his epiphany while he was sitting by the ocean one afternoon and felt the cascading waves and sand forming a cosmic dance, which he intuitively likened to the dance of Shiva, that he had been reading about. This started a long inquiry into Eastern religions and more particularly Hinduism and Zen Buddhism. In 1972, he drew the parallel between Shiva’s dance and the dance of subatomic particles in an article titled ‘The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics’. I spoke to him on the sidelines of a recent meeting of the Greenaccord international environmental journalists in Florence, Italy.


How did you, as a practising physicist, get interested in Hindu philosophy?
It started actually in my childhood. My mother was a poet and my father a lawyer, but also an amateur philosopher. He had a German translation of the Upanishads . I had also heard about Buddhism from my father. I really got interested in Indian philosophy in the 1960s; it came through the beat poets in San Francisco.
In the 1960s, I became part of the counter-culture. I began to practise yoga and Zen meditation, before finally settling on Taoist tai-chi, which I still practise today. I also experimented with psychedelics, which exposed me to alternative visions of reality through books, through classical texts. The Bhagvad Gita was an eye-opener for me, a profound experience. This was the first original source that I read and it was and is the best. Then I read a lot of books about Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki.
In 1969, I met Jiddu Krishnamurti who became a big influence on my thinking. I was never a devotee, but he was a very interesting independent thinker. He gave a lecture at the University of California, where I was teaching and doing physics research. I had read his books before and one of his collections of writings is called Freedom from the Known . I was very puzzled by it: I was a young post-doc physicist, just beginning a career: here was this Indian sage telling me that I must forget about knowledge, about language, I must free myself from all that. I managed to have an audience with him through various machinations. He was very impressive at that time; he had that impeccably coiffed hair, immaculate clothes; his whole demeanour was sage-like. I had read Carlos Castaneda on Don Juan: here was a Don Juan right before my eyes!
I asked him: ‘How do I free myself from the known as a budding physicist embarking on a career?’ He immediately responded: ‘First you are a human being. Only then are you a physicist. You have to liberate yourself as a human being and that you cannot do through thinking; you can only do through meditation. Once you have achieved that liberation, then go back and do physics. I love science.’ He showed me that you can combine different states of consciousness and use them when they are appropriate.

You must know that in India we have moved from Hinduism to Hindutva, with ultra right-wing ideologies taking root. There are throwbacks to claims of Indians possessing scientific knowledge like, for instance, the god Ganesha being a case of Indians knowing about plastic surgery. Does it disappoint you to learn that we in India have turned our backs on our own spiritual traditions?


It does disappoint me as an example of religion taking over from spirituality. In my 2014 book The Systems View of Life , which is a synthesis of my work, my co-author Pier Luigi Luisi and I have a chapter on science and spirituality. We make a strong point of the distinction. Spirituality is a perception of reality in a special state of consciousness and the characteristics of this experience of belonging to a larger whole, connected with everything, are independent of historical and cultural context. The organised expression of spirituality is religion, which always depends on cultural and historical context. Unfortunately, religion often ossifies and the teachings are expressed as dogma; experience is replaced by faith.

I first went to India in 1980, after The Tao of Physics had been published five years earlier; I was a fringe author in the U.S. and Europe. Quantum physics and Zen Buddhism weren’t things that people would easily accept. The book was very successful but it wasn’t taken seriously by the establishment. I was asked to give a series of lectures at the University of Bombay; I was received by the University Vice-Chancellor, and met leading politicians, including Indira Gandhi in Delhi. My work was totally embraced by the Indian establishment. I was very puzzled but then I realised that the mystical core of Hinduism was part of the establishment, not the fringe.

Are you disappointed that the idealism of the 60s and 70s on economic and ecological issues has been negated today?

I see this as a cycle, which is very consistent with Indian thinking. Let me take you through my personal experience from the 60s to the 90s. In the 60s, as part of the counter-culture, we were protesting against the conventional way of life with ideas of community, spirituality, sensuality, of a different ethic and so on. And we didn’t have an alternative. In the 70s, two movements emerged which were the pillars of an alternative: ecology and feminism. In the 80s, these movements coalesced into a political manifestation: the Green parties.
The Green movement became international and by the end of the 80s, there were many parties, in parliaments. By this time, 10 years after I published my second book, The Turning Point , I really believed that we were at this turning point.
What happened then was something that no one foresaw: the information technology revolution. The rise of computing power and telecommunications, e-mail and the Internet operated against the alternative view of the world and brought in a new materialism.

In theory, it would suggest just the opposite: the surge in communications should have made us more interdependent?

The IT revolution was critical for establishing global capitalism. These networks of financial flows didn’t happen from one day to another: there were many stops and starts, with people trying to impose economic restrictions.
There was Reaganomics in the U.S. and Thatcherism in the U.K. Finally, what emerged was this global network of financial flows which dominated society, destroyed communities. It is very powerful and was designed explicitly without any ethics. So when you invest your money, you have machines which do it for you; you have a computerised network of investment consultants and so on and they only apply one rule: what makes the most money.

Despite the global community you mention, hasn’t the rise of financial capitalism smothered it?
Yes it has. But we are also very strong because of our numbers. With the Internet, you see demonstrations. See the current struggle in Spain with Catalonia: they can get a hundred thousand people on the street in two days because communication is so fast. We’ve had demonstrations against Monsanto, for instance; there have been various causes that bring people to the streets. We have scholars, institutes of research and it is global. What we’ve been writing about for decades is happening: climate change, for instance. I wrote about global warming in 1989. For decades, no one listened and made fun, but we are now in a climate catastrophe. I think the situation is changing because businesses that don’t have ideologies — they want to invest money to flourish — are turning away from fossil fuels. If they had listened then, we would have had a different world today. It’s almost too late, but hopefully not. We have to build alternative communities and do things that don’t depend on global capitalism.

So you have hope for the future?
There are two major problems, among many others: climate change and economic inequality. Violence and war also exist but are derived from inequality. What has happened from my personal experience is that I now teach online in what I call ‘Capra Course’ (capracourse.net). People are very enthusiastic, but are confused about certain aspects: I give a scientific basis to bolster values like ecological sustainability and human dignity. I address people who are already convinced but confused about certain details. This is a very positive and hopeful development.
The writer, former editor of two major Mumbai dailies, is sometimes called journalist and other times environmentalist, but prefers to be known as an environmental journalist. 

********

Inauguration of Aadi Mahotsav – a fortnight long Tribal Festival

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Tribal Affairs
15-November-2017 18:31 IST

Vice President to inaugurate Aadi Mahotsav - a fortnight long Tribal Festival with the theme of ‘A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Culture, Cuisine and Commerce’

Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram to preside over the Tribal Festival Inauguration

The festival will feature exhibition-cum-sale of tribal handicrafts, art, paintings, fabric, jewellery and much more through about 200 stalls

Over 750 tribal artisans from over 25 States will be participating in the festival 


The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate ‘Aadi Mahotsav’ - a fortnight long Tribal Festival with the theme of ‘A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Culture, Cuisine and Commerce’ tomorrow i.e 16 Nov 2017 at Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi. The inaugural function will be presided over by Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram. Ministers of State for Tribal Affairs Shri Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor and Shri Sudarshan Bhagat will be specially present to grace the occasion. Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs Ms. Leena Nair, Managing Director, TRIFED Shri Pravir Krishna and other senior officials will also be present on the occasion.

Over 750 tribal artisans from over 25 States will be participating in the festival. Aadi Mahotsav is scheduled to be organized at four venues throughout Delhi. The details of the venues and dates of the festival are as under.
Dilli Haat, INA                       -           16-30 November, 2017
Dilli Haat, Janakpuri               -           16-19 November, 2017
Central Park, Rajiv Chowk     -           16-17 November, 2017
Handicraft Bhawan, Baba Kharak Singh Marg  -  16-19 November, 2017

The Mahotsav : Showcasing Tribal Culture, Commerce & Cuisine:
The festival will run for a fortnight through 30th November 2017. The theme of the festival is: A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Culture, Cuisine and Commerce. The festival will feature exhibition-cum-sale of tribal handicrafts, art, paintings, fabric, jewellery and much more through about 200 stalls.

Over 750 tribal artisans and artists from over 25 States will be participating in the festival. A special feature of the festival is Tribal India cuisine, recreated and presented in delectable forms to suit urban tastes by special tribal chefs.

An attractive stage has been raised at the venue to showcase tribal music and dance every evening from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm. Nearly 350 artists from 20 States are expected to perform during the festival.  

Shopping, Dining & Fine Music
The 15 days Mahotsav is expected have a footfall of over one lakh Delhiites.  It promises to be a feast of shopping, exotic dining and fine music from Artists from all over the Country.  The tribal textiles manufactured by Master tribal  Craftsmen from Jammu & Kashmir in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South and from Gujarat in the East to Nagaland/Sikkim in the West will win the heart of Delhiites. 

The Traditional tribal jewelry, bamboo cane also promise to be  the items of attraction.The Tribal handicrafts would be sold through about 200 Stalls in the Dilli Haat, INA by tribal Artisans.   Twenty five special tribal cuisines would be on display and sale during the fortnight and Delhites are welcome to sample the exotic Adi Vyanjan.

A team of 350 tribal artists from all over the country will present excellent and choreographed dances, vocal and instrumental music.  Four rock bands from North East would be giving enthralling performances everyday in the evening from 5.30 P.M. to 8.30 P.M. 

In line with the national aspiration to go cashless, the tribal artisans will be accepting payment through credit/debit cards for which Point of Sale (POS) machines have been provided in each stall.  A special training has been conducted by State Bank of India for smooth operation of this.  The Mahotsav will display the rich digital commerce and e-commerce being promoted by Tribes India.  All the stalls will prefer and promote payments through credit cards. 


Background :
The tribes constitute over 8% of the country’s population. This is a very significant number. In real terms it corresponds to over 10 crore Indians. The national object of inclusive development (sabka vikas) includes the development of tribes as an important component. Our constitution enjoins upon the Government the responsibility of addressing the special needs of the tribals.

As the name of this event Aadi Mahotsav suggests, it is the ‘adi’ factor that is important about them. The Adivasi  way of life is guided by primal truths, eternal values and a natural simplicity. The greatness of the tribes lies in this that they have managed to retain the primal skills, the natural simplicity. Their creations issue from the depths of time. This quality gives their arts and crafts a timeless appeal. The crudest tribal handicraft instantly touches a primal instinct in all of us. This is particularly true of tribal music and dance.  

The tribes of India have a wide range of handicrafts. These include handwoven cotton, wool and silk fabrics, woodcrafts, metal craft, terracotta, bead-work, masques and other objects. They also produce compelling paintings. It is true that the tribes did not develop these arts and handicrafts for the market. They developed them for their own captive use. But we all live in a changing world. Nobody can remain unaffected by these changes. Not even the tribes. Like all of us, the tribes too now need cash for sundry purposes. It is therefore important that their natural skills must be channelled to promote their sources of income. It is for this reason that the Government seeks to promote interaction between the tribal artisans and the mainstream designers from reputed design organizations. The idea is to expand the product range and designs. The synergy between these two can generate marketable products of art and handicraft for the top-end global market. Single items of bell-metal produced by the late Jaideo Baghel of Kondagaon in Bastar sold for as much as five lacs of rupees! This only points to the fact that on the one hand there are skills in the tribal pockets of India, and on the other hand there is high-end demand in our cities and in the international market.

The need is to put two and two together for a win-win result. Events such as this Adi Mahotsav are very important in this regard. The Government has formed the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (Trifed) for achieving this.   Trifed is doing significant work in this direction and have now embraced e-commerce and digital platforms to take the business forward.

TRIBES India proudly announces the signing of MOUs with Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, PayTM and GEM, a Government of India Portal for e-commerce of the tribal products.  Besides TRIBES India has also has its own e-com portal www.eshop.tribesindia.com

The Mahotsav is an effort to take tribal commerce to the next level of digital and electronic transactions.  The Mahotsav apart from exotic handicrafts will also  showcase the electronic and digital skills of the tribals as a special attraction.   
****
MKV/AK

source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=173536


source: http://orissadiary.com/vice-president-inaugurate-aadi-mahotsav/

******

       Speech by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the inauguration of the Aadi Mahotsav a Mega fortnight long National Tribal festival with the theme: A celebration of the spirit of Tribal culture, cuisine & commerce, in New Delhi on

New Delhi | November 16, 2017
Today, I extend my heartfelt greetings to the tribal brothers on the auspicious occasion of Adi Mahotsav. Tribals are very dear, heartwarming people of Bharat Mata. Adivasi brothers and sisters have favored the life of our country with their melodious and joyful music, joy of pleasure, unique handicrafts.
This festival will prove very useful to introduce this wonderful cultural heritage to all over India and the world. Another advantage through this festival can be that the objects and artifacts you make will have an opportunity to sell them and you will also be able to get financial benefits. Your efficiency will be rewarded in the form of economic prosperity.
I hope that all of you will be able to take full advantage of this opportunity. I urge you to continue the effort that way so far you have preserved your cultural heritage. This is an invaluable heritage. It is very important to promote, disseminate and increase it. In this endeavor, the government is supporting and will give tribute to artistic creative enthusiasm, giving special attention to it.
The tribes constitute over 8% of the country’s population. This is a very significant number. In real terms it corresponds to over 10 crore Indians. The national object of inclusive development (Sabka Vikas) includes the development of tribes as an important component. Our constitution enjoins upon the Government the responsibility of addressing the special needs of the tribals.
The Government has always treated the tribes with a special concern. However, there are unique challenges in the field of tribal development. This is because the tribes must be drawn to the mainstream, but at the same time it is important to ensure that their culture remains intact.
The attitude of urban mainstream towards the tribes is often characterized by a belief that we have a lot to teach the tribes to help them to develop. What we generally tend to forget is that in fact the tribes have a lot to teach urban India. When we deal with the tribes, we must always keep an open mind. We must maintain our humility.
What is special about the tribes? As the name of this event suggests, it is the ‘adi’ factor that is important about them. Adivasis are the aboriginals. Their way of life is guided by primal truths, eternal values and a natural simplicity. The greatness of the tribes lies in this that they have managed to retain the primal skills and their natural simplicity. Their creations have a timeless appeal. The crudest tribal handicraft instantly touches a chord in all of us. This is also particularly true of tribal music and dance.
The tribes of India have a wide range of handicrafts. These include hand-woven cotton, wool and silk fabrics, woodcrafts, metal craft, terracotta, bead-work, masques and other objects. They also produce compelling paintings.
Government has rightly recognized the need to channel the artistic talents towards income generation. It is for this reason that the Government seeks to promote interaction between the tribal artisans and the mainstream designers from reputed design organizations. The idea is to expand the product range and designs. The synergy between these two can generate marketable products of art and handicraft for the top-end global market.
Single items of bell-metal produced by the late Jaideo Baghel of Kondagaon in Bastar sold for as much as five lacs of rupees! This only points to the fact that on the one hand there are skills in the tribal pockets of India, and on the other hand there is high-end demand in our cities and in the international market.
The need is to put two and two together for a win-win result. Events such as this Adimahotsav are very important in this regard. The Government has formed the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (Trifed) for achieving this.
I am happy that Trifed is doing significant work in this direction and have now embraced e-commerce and digital platforms to take the business forward.
Apart from handicrafts, the tribes gather from the forests a range of forest produces. These include various tree-borne products like flowers, fruits, seeds, barks and leaves; and various insect produces like honey. All these are completely organic products.
We know that organic food products command a premium price. Trifed must tap this premium market which is a niche market. And, more importantly, Trifed must ensure that the benefit of higher prices accrues to the tribal. I understand that the scheme of minimum support price for forest produces has been expanded to cover all states and twenty four key products. The scheme now needs to be implemented in full earnestness.
I congratulate the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED organizers of this Adimahotsav. I invite the tribal artisans gathered here to make the best use of this opportunity to forge links with other artisans and market drivers. I am happy to see the enthusiasm here and the colourful festive atmosphere. I hope in the times to come we will see more of such events.
Jai Hind!
source: http://vicepresidentofindia.nic.in/speechesinterviews/speech-shri-m-venkaiah-naidu-honourable-vice-president-india-inauguration-aadi
*************

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Little drama in Bonn COP23 FIJI 2017 : Outcomes COP 23


Outcomes from Cop 23

Concrete Climate Action Commitments at COP23
UN CLIMATE PRESS RELEASE / 17 NOV, 2017


UN Climate Change News, Bonn, Nov 17 – As the UN Climate Change Conference comes down to the last day and governments work to complete the final negotiation decisions, it’s good to be reminded of the new wave of climate action that has been announced during COP23 from countries, cities, states, regions, business and civil society.
The common message from all sides at this conference has been that action to get on track towards the objectives of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and to ultimately achieve the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals is urgent, time is really running out and everyone simply must do much better together to drive climate action further and faster ahead now.
Above all, this means rapidly raising the current global ambition to act on climate change that is captured in the full set of national climate action plans (NDCs) which sit at the heart of the Agreement.
The following list includes announcements made during Cop23 to drive us further, faster and together to this destination.

Financing Climate Action

Major announcements included funds to support the poorest and most vulnerable, whose plight has been brought into sharp perspective by this year’s extreme weather
  • InsuResilience Initiative additional USD 125 mln from Germany to support provision of insurance to 400 more million poor and vulnerable people by 2020. A G20 and V20 (vulnerable nations) partnership
  • Adaptation Fund exceeds 2017 Target – Germany’s contribution of 50 million euros and Italy’s contribution of 7 million euros means the Fund has now surpassed its 2017 target by over USD 13 million and stands at a total equivalent of USD 93.3 million dollars
  • Norway & Unilever USD 400 mln fund for public and private investment in more resilient socioeconomic development.  Investing in business models that combine investments in high productivity agriculture, smallholder inclusion and forest protection
  • Germany and Britain to provide combined USD 153 mln to expand programs to fight climate change and deforestation in Amazon rainforest
  • European Investment Bank will provide USD 75 million for a new USD 405 million investment programmeby the Water Authority of Fiji. The scheme will strengthen resilience of water distribution and wastewater treatment following Cyclone Winston, the world’s second strongest storm ever recorded, which hit Fiji in February 2016
  • Green Climate Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed up to free USD 37.6 million of GCF grant financing in the USD 243.1 million Saïss Water Conservation Project to make Moroccan agriculture more resilient
  • World Resources Institute announced a landmark USD2.1 billion of private investment earmarked to restore degraded lands in Latin America and the Caribbean through Initiative 20x20
  • UNDP, Germany, Spain and EU launch EUR 42 million programme NDC Support Programme at UN Climate Summit to help countries deliver on the Paris Agreement
  • NDC Partnership to establish a new regional hub to support implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the Pacific
  • 13 countries and IEA - EUR 30 mln to “IEA Clean Energy Transitions Programme” to support clean energy transitions around the world
  • Ecuador to reduce 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in the forest sector
  • Gabon’s National Park Service to halt illegal logging to stop emission of 20 million tonnes of CO2

Investing in Climate Action

  • HSBC announces 100 billion for green investments just before COP23
  • R20 and Blue Orchard Finance’s African Sub-national Climate Fund to provide ready-to-invest projects and funds to implement at least 100 infrastructure projects by 2020

Coordinating Climate Action

With so many climate action pledges and initiatives from across government, business and civil society, there is a growing need to coordinate effort to ensure that every cent invested and every minute of work contributed results in a much greater impact than each acting separately.
  • SIDS Health Initiative by WHO, UN Climate Change secretariat and Fijian COP 23 Presidency to ensure small island developing states have health systems resilient to climate change by 2030
  • America’s Pledge brings together private and public sector leaders to ensure the US remains a global leader in reducing emissions and delivers the country’s climate goals under the Paris Agreement
  • Powering Past Coal Alliance brings together 25 countries, states and regions to accelerate the rapid phase-out of coal and support affected workers and communities to make the transition
  • C40 mayors of 25 pioneering cities, representing 150 million citizens, pledged to develop and begin implementing more ambitious climate action plans before the end of 2020 to deliver emissions neutral and climate resilient cities by 2050
  • Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction – signed agreement to dramatically speed up and scale upcollaborative action
  • below50 -World Business Council on Sustainable Development initiative to grow the global market for the most sustainable fuels.
  • EcoMobility Alliance - Ambitious cities committed to sustainable transport.
  • Transforming Urban Mobility Initiative - Accelerating implementation of sustainable urban transportdevelopment and mitigation of climate change.
  • The Ocean Pathway Partnership aims, by 2020, to strengthen action and funding that links climate change action; healthy oceans and livelihoods including through the UN Climate Change process and via national climate action plans
  • United Nations Development Programme launched the Global Platform for the New York Declaration on Forests to accelerate achievement of its goals of forest protection and restoration.

Corporate Emission Cuts

Government Ratifications

  • Syria ratified the Paris Agreement – 170 have now ratified
  • Six countries have ratified the Doha Amendment (Belgium, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden) – 90 countries in total have ratified
  • Eight countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (Comoros, Finland, Germany, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Luxembourg, Maldives, Slovakia and the UK) – 19 countries in total have ratified
*********




Fig. - taken from following link

pdf-icon Approach to the Talanoa Dialogue(version of 16 November 2017)

************** 

Momentum Builds With New Financial Commitments on Insurance and Forests to Scaled-Up Climate Action by Governments, Cities and Companies

UN Climate Change News, Bonn, 18 November 2017 - Nations agreed today to launch the next steps towards higher climate action ambition before 2020 at the close of the annual UN climate conference held in the German city of Bonn.
Backed by a wide range of positive announcements from governments, cities, states, regions, companies and civil society, delegates from over 190 countries agreed to a 12-month engagement focusing on ‘Where are we, where do we want to go and how do we get there?’
The ‘Talanoa Dialogue’, inspired by the Pacific concept of constructive discussion, debate and story-telling, will set the stage in Poland in 2018 for the revising upwards of national climate action plans needed to put the world on track to meet pre-2020 ambition and the long-term goals of the two-year old Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement's central goal is keep the global average temperature rise below 2 Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5—the lower limit is deemed crucial for survival by many small islands and vulnerable countries.
Over one degree of this rise has already occurred since pre-industrial times. The current set of national climate action plans, known as NDCs, are still heading for a path towards 3 Celsius, possibly more.
Frank Bainimarama, President of the conference also known as ‘COP23’ and Prime Minister of Fiji, said: “I’m very pleased that COP23 has been such a success, especially given the challenge to the multilateral consensus for decisive climate action. We have done the job we were given to do, which is to advance the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement and prepare for more ambitious action in the Talanoa Dialogue of 2018.”
“There has been positive momentum all around us. And Fiji is especially gratified how the global community has embraced our concept of a Grand Coalition for greater ambition linking national governments with states and cities, civil society, the private sector and ordinary men and women around the world,” he said.


***************


Climate summit goes slow and steady but King Coal looms



Little drama in Bonn other than some star turns and a pantomime villain. All eyes are now on Poland, the next summit host


For an issue that often seems to lurch from crisis to catastrophe, the steady but vital progress at the UN’s global climate change talks in Bonn was reassuring. But there remains a very long way to go before the world gets on track to avoid catastrophic levels of global warming.
There was little drama as the diplomatic sherpas trekked up the mountain of turning the political triumph of the 2015 Paris agreement into a technical reality, with a rulebook that would allow countries to start ramping up action. They got about as far as expected in turning the conceptual into the textual, but no further.
But that is not to say there were no star turns. Timoci Naulusala, a 12-year-old Fijian boy, gave a passionate yet nerveless account of the destruction of his village by Cyclone Winston in 2016 to the gathered heads of state and ministers. “Climate change is real, not a dream,” he said.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, turned on the charisma and heartened the gathered nations with a pledge to replace the US funding dumped by Donald Trump for the UN’s climate science body.
The Trump administration, which wants the US to be the only country in the world not in the Paris deal, was the pantomime villain, but only succeeded in uniting the 195 other nations against it. The sole US event brought an executive from Peabody, the US coal company with a long history of funding climate denial, to argue for “clean coal”. A protest song and walkout from most of the audience followed and for the rest of the summit, the US delegation was irrelevant.
But the large coalition of US cities and states backing climate action – which as a group represents the third-largest economy in the world – stole the American show, with the California governor, Jerry Brown, popping up everywhere, pumping up the crowds.
The multi-nation pledge to phase out coal use was the political high point, but the dragging on of the coalition talks in Germany prevented Angela Merkel from potentially joining the party. The politics is key: UN climate talks run on consensus, with no votes, so trust and momentum are vital and were preserved in Bonn.
But the summit was like a dress rehearsal for next year, when the Paris rulebook has to be finalised and poorer and vulnerable nations will demand much more action and funding from the rich countries they blame for climate change. Further gatherings in Paris in December and California next year will also help prepare the stage for the 2018 UN climate summit.
That will be in Silesia, a heartland of Europe’s King Coal, Poland, which has already started feeling the international pressure to clean up its act. If that summit achieves its goals – accelerating carbon cuts – then the curtain will have been raised on the clean, green 21st century, against a backdrop of the mines and power plants of the 20th century.

***************

‘Planet at a crossroads’: climate summit makes progress but leaves much to do

The UN negotiations in Bonn lay the groundwork for implementing the landmark Paris deal, but tough decisions lay ahead

The world’s nations were confident they were making important progress in turning continued political commitment into real world action, as the global climate change summit in Bonn was drawing to a close on Friday.
The UN talks were tasked with the vital, if unglamorous, task of converting the unprecedented global agreement sealed in Paris in 2015 from a symbolic moment into a set of rules by which nations can combine to defeat global warming. Currently, the world is on track for at least 3C of global warming – a catastrophic outcome that would lead to severe impacts around the world.
The importance of the task was emphasised by Frank Bainimarama, Fiji’s prime minister and president of the summit: “We are not simply negotiating words on a page, but we are representing all our people and the places they call home.”
The Paris rulebook, which must be finalised by the end of 2018, now has a skeleton: a set of headings relating to how action on emissions is reported and monitored. Nations have also fleshed this out with suggested detailed texts, but these are often contradictory and will need to be resolved next year. “The worst outcome would have been to end up with empty pages, but that is not going to happen,” said a German negotiator.
One issue that did flare up during talks was the action being taken by rich nations before the Paris deal kicks in in 2020. Developing nations argued not enough is being done and, with the UN climate negotiations running largely on trust, the issue became unexpectedly serious before being defused by commitments to a “stocktake” of action in 2018 and 2019.
The final hours of the negotiations were held up by a technical row over climate funding from rich nations, always a sensitive topic. Poorer and vulnerable nations want donor countries to set out in advance how much they will provide and when, so recipient nations can plan their climate action. Rich nations claim they are not unwilling, but that making promises on behalf of future governments is legally complex.
Progress in raising the importance of genderindigenous peoples and agriculture in tackling climate change was made. But NGOs criticised slow progress in delivering previous funding promises. Raijeli Nicole, from Oxfam, said: “For the most part, rich countries showed up to Bonn empty-handed.”
Coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel – has had a high profile at the summit, with the US administration’s only official side-event controversially promoting “clean coal”. But the overwhelming momentum has been against the fuel, with a new coalition of countries pledging a complete phaseout. This happened outside the negotiations, a significant move, according to Camilla Born at thinktank E3G: “We have had the Paris agreement living in the real world.”
Poland, which is heavily dependent on coal, is hosting the next UN climate summit in a year’s time and has frequently held up climate action in the EU. But on Friday, apparently under heavy EU pressure, it ended its hold-out against passing a climate commitment called the Doha amendment which sets in law pre-2020 climate action.
Germany, however, has been unable to commit to phasing out its huge coal industry, because Angela Merkel’s talks to form a new coalition have run over time. Nonetheless, Barbara Hendricks, the out-going German environment minister, said on Friday: “The phasing out of coal makes sense environmentally and economically.” She was certain the new government would act, she said.

US president Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris deal has had little impact at the talks, according to negotiators, who say US officials have been neutral and not blocked anything. Gebru Jember Endalew, the Ethiopian chair of the 47-strong Least Developed Countries negotiating bloc, said: “Unlike immigration, you cannot protect your country from climate change by building a wall.” Other big powers, such as China and India, have not used the US move to try to gain extra advantage but remain constructive players, insiders say.
Last minute hitches in closing the Bonn summit remain possible but are not expected by the delegates. Instead the attention now moves to 2018 and the tougher, final decisions that need to be made then.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who as Peru’s environment minister ran the 2014 climate talks and is now at WWF, said: “The planet is at a crossroads. The decisions we make today set the foundation for 2018 and beyond. Countries must increase their ambition to put us on a path to a 1.5C future.”
“The Poland summit [in 2018] will be tough,” he said. “We expect to make progress, but it is not going to be easy.”
Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate ambassador during the Paris deal and now at the European Climate Foundation, said: “There is no time to rest on our laurels, we are not on track. If we are serious about tackling climate change, everyone will need to step up and put forward ambitious climate commitments between now and 2020.”
link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/17/planet-at-a-crossroads-climate-summit-makes-progress-but-leaves-much-to-do

************
UN CLIMATE PRESS RELEASE / 14 NOV, 2017
UN Calls to Address Linked Climate, Biodiversity and Desertification Threats
UN CLIMATE PRESS RELEASE / 14 NOV, 2017
Climate Action Priority for Food Security and Zero Hunger
https://cop23.unfccc.int/news/climate-action-priority-for-food-security-and-zero-hunger

“It won’t work without tangible sanctions.” An interview with the economist Prof. Dr. Anke Gerber
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) began Monday in Bonn. Thousands of delegates from over 170 countries will negotiate climate goals at the 23rd annual conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference runs until 17 November, marking the first time that delegates are convening since the USA announced its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Presiding over this year’s conference is the Republic of Fiji, an island nation that is already feeling the effects of climate change: 45 villages, for example, have had to be resettled due to rising sea levels. The economist Prof. Dr. Anke Gerber conducts research on, among other things, international agreements. In this interview, she explains to what extent this kind of climate agreement can be binding and what it takes to implement it.
link: https://www.uni-hamburg.de/en/newsroom/im-fokus/2017-11-07-klimakonferenz-gerber.html

Bonn climate talks: Resurrection of trust deficit

Contrary to popular belief, the Kyoto Protocol is not dead.
The 2012 Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol extends its life as it includes the second commitment period (2012-2020) for 37 industrialised countries which took similar legally-binding commitments during the first commitment period (2008-2012).
The legally binding obligations of the 37 industrialised countries under the second commitment period are mainly related to their emission reductions and financing for the developing countries for technology transfer. Many consider the Doha Amendment as the second chance for the developed countries to demonstrate their moral and legal commitments as well as climate justice which they were unable to do in the first commitment period.
And here starts the near collapse of climate-trust between developed and developing countries that the Paris Climate agreement was able to generate with finesse in 2015.
It is sparsely known outside the climate community that the Doha Amendment has not entered into force because only 84 countries have ratified it against the 144 required. Most of the industrialised countries which are required to take binding commitment have not ratified it. Significantly, countries like Japan, New Zealand and Russia have participated in Kyoto’s first commitment period but have not taken on new targets in the second commitment period.
Developing countries at the Conference of the Parties-23 (COP-23) in Bonn, as the first week’s talks are nearing an end, want the issue of commitment under the second period of the Kyoto Protocol to be on the agenda, mainly to discuss the pre-2020 commitment.
Industrialised countries are refusing to discuss it as there is not enough time in Bonn for this and there is an urgent need to finalise the rules to operationalise the Paris Agreement, which entered into force in November 2016.
The urgency of discussing pre-2020 commitments by 37 developed countries and finalising the rule book for the Paris Agreement by 2020, as per agreed time table, are both equally urgent, the developing countries argue.
“You cannot run away from the agreement that you signed two decades back in Kyoto, just because there is a new agreement in Paris” is the strong and harsh message that developing countries are sending to the industrialised countries in Bonn, an African delegate said.
“Developed countries need to be reminded that the Kyoto Protocol is alive. Unfortunately, the developed countries have dispatched it to ICU in Bonn, mainly because they are refusing to meet their commitments of technology and finance of $100 billion per year under the extended period of Kyoto agreement,” said a representative of Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) that include, interestingly, India, China and Iran.
link: https://opinion.bdnews24.com/2017/11/13/bonn-climate-talks-resurrection-of-trust-deficit/
*******************
The Paris UN Climate Change Conference COP21 of 30 November - 11 December 2015 was hailed as an agreement that would set the standards of future global political cooperation, agreement and action on impactful climate solutions. It was also regarded as the most important international decision and focused political document on global climate governance in more than 20 years with the aim of preventing major and irreversible damage to our planet’s human and natural systems.

On the final day of this Paris Summit, world leaders from around the world signed a global climate Agreement, a legally-binding treaty for all signatories. President of the Cop21, Laurent Fabius called the agreement a “turning point.  .and a universal action of peace by 196 countries” in the global process to save the planet. The Agreement however, must also be ratified nationally, and will not become binding to its member states until 55 parties who produce over 55% of the world's greenhouse gas have sanctioned it.

Although the Paris Accord was seen by many as insufficient to halt global warming, falling far too short of what was hoped for, including a lack of mechanism to ensure that countries enforce the measures, it has been established that it is a good start when compared to the past attempts. With this action, governments, businesses, experts, advocates, civil society and citizens worldwide did finally officially recognize the universal nature of climate change, marking a pivotal moment in modern environmental history, and a significant shift in global perception on climate progress.

********